In January, my library held an author chat with Maggie Stiefvater, author of Shiver, Ballad and Lament, via Skype. My library is located in Southwest Missouri and authors typically opt for the much larger Kansas City or St. Louis on their tours. My teens have been begging for an author event, and Skype turned out to be the best budget friendly option.
I was lucky enough to come across an advance copy of Shiver last year and reviewed the book on my book blog before I attended ALA. Ms. Stiefvater ended up sitting at my table at the YA Author Coffee Klatch hosted by YALSA and we talked about the book and her writing. This was a great networking opportunity and it opened the door for our Skype event. I highly recommend the YA Author Coffee Klatch to every YALSA member!
When the time came to plan my January programs, I sent an e-mail to Ms. Stiefvater asking if she would be interested in participating in a Skype event. I loved the idea of drinking hot chocolate and talking about werewolves. On January 23, 15 teens crowded around the webcam on my computer to ask questions and talk about writing, books, and werewolves. I hooked the computer up to a projector and we were able to talk to Ms. Stiefvater, see her writing studio (and her adorable cats which the teens loved), and got a preview of Linger, Ms. Stiefvater’s August release. The event was great and the teens are already asking when the next one will be.
So what did I learn about hosting an author event via Skype?
-Technology will have its glitches, but you can work through them. We were hooked up to the library’s wireless, which disconnected us a couple of times from our call, but we called right back and kept going.
-Make connections with authors! ALA is a great opportunity for this. Author’s love to connect with librarians and teens and there is a whole list of authors who will Skype on the Skype an Author website.
-Relax and have fun. Even with the tech glitches, the teens loved the event and were excited to meet an author.